San Jose Budget Plan Details Deep Cuts

SAN JOSE (CBS SF) — A proposed budget released Tuesday by San Jose City Manager Debra Figone calls for cuts in police and firefighter positions and a reduction in services, such as at libraries and community centers, to close a $115 million deficit.

The city anticipates that roughly 370 city workers would be laid off, while an additional 446 would be moved to different positions, some even moving to lower-paying positions.

“As you can see we’re facing a very, very difficult budget situation right now,” said Tom Manheim, a spokesman for the city manager’s office. “These are very broad impacts, on not just the employees, but the community as well.”

Manheim said roughly half of the deficit is a result of pension costs. He said another component is that the city is still recovering from the recession.

“The revenues we depend on are just not returning,” he said.

To balance the budget, the city is once again asking employees to take a 10 percent cut in total compensation and to agree to roll back their salaries to last year’s level.

The city has reached an agreement with five bargaining units and is asking for the remaining groups to agree to the concessions in order to avoid further layoffs and service reductions.

The proposals would affect employees across all departments. In the Police Department, the proposal calls for the elimination of 195 sworn police positions, the elimination of the school liaison program, the suspension of the helicopter program, which would save the department about $400,000 annually, and the potential outsourcing of police services at Mineta San Jose International Airport.

Even prior to concessions, the department faces roughly 122 layoffs and nearly 20 demotions, police Sgt. Jason Dwyer said.

“With the contraction of the department, we are going to have to modify our business practices and basically look at prioritizing and finding out what we’re going to focus on as far as resources and where they’re going to come from,” Dwyer said.

He said most of those resources would be dedicated to patrol officers and investigations of violent crimes.

“We are still going to work property crimes, but the amount of resources are not going to be high as they used to be,” Dwyer said. “They’ll be realigned to keep the city safe.”

In the fire department, about 64 positions would be eliminated, staffing on fire trucks would be reduced from five to four, and fire services at the airport would potentially be outsourced.

Tom Saggau, a spokesman for the firefighters union, San Jose Firefighters Local 230, said this year firefighters are not as impacted as in previous years.

The union has reached an agreement on a contract through June 2013, agreeing to a 10 percent total compensation cut, a 5 percent increase in medical insurance, and a reduction in staffing.

“I think we’re looking at potentially as a result of our concessions between five and 15 layoffs, whereas (other departments) are looking at hundreds of layoffs,” Saggau said.

The proposal calls for the elimination of nearly 72 library positions, and a reduction in hours to three days a week, as well as reduced services at the Martin Luther King Jr. branch.

Hours at all 10 of the city’s community centers would be reduced, and 182 positions in the Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Services department would be eliminated.

The proposal calls for reductions in the park ranger program and the outsourcing of park restroom custodial services and landscape maintenance at small parks, as well as the outsourcing of graffiti abatement services.

Community-based organizations would receive reduced funding.

Prior to the adoption of the final budget on June 21, the City Council will hold public hearings on May 17 and June 13.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services may have contributed to this report.)

  • john

    I love it !!!! Let the government employees find out what use REAL WORLD workes have been facing for years. And good luck leaving the city and trying to get a job in the REAL WORLD. We know you do nothing all day

  • don

    I still see a lot police officers on the same spot at one time, handing out the tickets at the school zones, it is rediculous. Fire them all or they need to do something else beside that.

    • bob

      great point don. why dont you go to a city council meeting and propose that to city council. maybe they will fire police officers for handing out tickets while enforcing school zones. definately sharp as a butter knife.

  • bob

    I love it too!!! Private industries financial institutions brought down the economy and not a single CEO went to jail for the fraud, ie subprime loans. When people where making their money, getting year end bonus’, extravagant employee parties, stock options, nobody gave a dam about govt workers. Now that private industry is suffering and **govt** had to bail out the real world, its easy for people like john to lay blame elsewhere. Quit being a troll.

  • Scott

    Im a county worker and I have not had a raise in 8 years my union just passed out the countys planned contract that they are going to offer us.It calls for 6% pay cut off the top,we have to pay 7% more into our retirement,they are going to enforce 6 mandatory furlough days a month thats 2.33% pay loss for us so multiply 2.33 x 12 months.They want us to pay more into our insurance they want to take away our sick leave.They want to cut out 4 paid holidays a year.They want to limit the amout of vacation time we can accrue.Now we have always worked with the county since time have been hard these last 6-8 years Hence no pay raises in 8 years,and this is how they reward us if you total all the pay cuts and time loss it comes to around 21-35% in total loss on take home pay.I live in silicon valley and the cost of living here is very high 30-60% higher that most other countys so if you take my 22.50 an hour that I am making and subtract what they want to cut it knocks me down to around 14-16 dollars an hour then I cannot pay my rent.I pay 1415. a month in rent which is reasonable here in San Jose CA but with these purposed reductions I wont be able to make it neither will alot of my co workers.So you see not all of us public employees make cash hand over fist alot of the quotes you see in the paper and On the news are salary quotes for the top Bosses that retire not us little guys.Yeah the county planner might leave her office ona 123K a year retirement but she is the other end of the scale no where near my end.

  • Scott

    Oh and to top it all off after these perposed cuts they will probably still turn around and have a massive lay off anyway.

  • Scott

    By all means lets keep the manager to worker ratio at 4 to 1 (four managers,supervisors to every 1 employee) If these managers are so invaluable they why are we in a financial crysis should they have been able to prevent this?Too many chiefs not enough indians.

  • CaptainSensible

    I perpose the county hire employees that can write a proper sentence in this crysis.

  • Selfish

    Scott – you’re just facing the same thing private-sector employees have been facing for the past 8 years. Quit whining and be glad you have a job.

  • itoldyouso

    San Jose officers pay nearly 23% of their salary into retirement. city hall never mentions this, and what other private employee contributes this much? None. san Jose officers contribution is highest in the country

  • Willy

    I think city & county workers need to have a reality check. Don’t cry

  • Steve

    Maybe it’s time to restructure management and hold them accountable for financial decisions. Cut from the top down. This is the problem, over paid managers with no accountability.

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